ASRock E3V5 WS (Intel C232) Super Alloy Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


Today’s motherboard review lands right in the middle of everything. Not because it’s all over the place, but because it has a lot of usage scenarios and support for pretty much any setup. You could use ASRock’s E5V5 WS motherboard in a gaming system as well as in a server setup as both of those setups are fully supported, but its real area of operation is to act as the base for a powerful workstation.

The ASRock E5V5 WS uses an LGA 1151 socket and the board is compatible with both E3-1200 v5 processors such as the one I’ll be using later on in this review, but it also supports normal 6th Generation Intel Core processors – so basically the entire Skylake and Skylake-S line-up. As backbone behind the CPU that you end up using is the Intel C232 chipset that is perfectly tuned for workstation environments and a motherboard like this. Memory wise you can use normal DDR4 DIMMs as well as ECC UDIMM memory modules with a speed of up to 2133 MHz in the four DIMM slots with 15μ gold contacts for a total of up to 64GB RAM.

The gold contacts in the memory slots aren’t the only quality feature in this motherboard. The E3V5 WS motherboard is part of ASRock’s Super Alloy series and comes with premium 50A power chokes and is made of a high-density glass fabric PCB. It also features ASRock’s full spike protection that protects from sudden surges, lightning, and electrostatic discharges (ESD).

The network connection isn’t controlled by the average low-performance controller either and we find an Intel PHY i219LM controller on this motherboard. The Gigabit Ethernet controller supports Wake-On-LAN, supports 802.3az energy efficient ethernet and PXE. The Ethernet controller is one of the parts that is protected by the Full Spike Protection. The second part with protection is the USB. The ASRock E35 WS features two USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel and you can connect another four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports via headers. All of these are protected by the ASRock Full Spike Protection. The audio is also protected by this and we find a 7.1 channel HD Audio controller, the Realtek ALC892. It features Blu-ray audio support and uses ELNA solid audio capacitors. Last but not least, you also find legacy PS2 connectors for both your mouse and keyboard.

 

Internally we find good expansion options too. Since we are dealing with an Intel-based motherboard, we also get IRST for RAID setups across the six SATA3 6 Gb/s connectors. Supported modes include the normal RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 modes.

There are two PCIe Gen3 x16 slots that support both Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro workstation graphics cards as well as consumer graphics cards. There is also full support for the use of AMD’s CrossfireX technology for multiple graphics card usage. As I mentioned earlier, you can make a great workstation with this motherboard. There are three more PCIe Gen3 x1 slots available for further expansion and neither of them will be blocked by the use of two-slot graphics cards. Even with a CrossfireX setup, you’ll still have access to the three x1 slots.

Quality hardware and components are just one side of the story, we also need a good BIOS and proper software to have the best experinece. The E3V5 WS comes with both of those features too. The UEFI BIOS has the easy EZ mode dashboard besides the advanced setup pages, which contains multiple readings of the system’s current status. You can check the most crucial information of your system, such as CPU speed, DRAM frequency, SATA information, fan speed, etc.

Even better, you can reach the tech support purely from the systems BIOS, as long as the system has an internet connection. You can also install LAN drivers onto your windows installation directly from the BIOS.

The ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard) technology allows you to establish an internet curfew or restrict internet access at specified times for your kids. Stay in control of their surfing times without yelling. This probably isn’t the most used function in a workstation system, but it could be used to shut down any connection attempts outside of office hours. Another useful feature is the USB Key function that can replace the password question when you log into windows. Do it by plugging a USB drive in instead.

The well-known ASRock XFast RAM and XFast LAN are also built into this motherboard. The XFast RAM feature allows you to fully utilize the memory space that otherwise can’t be accessed in 32-bit systems, among others. XFast LAN is a quality of service protocol that prioritizes the important traffic so you don’t have to wait for loading times. ASRock Live Update and APP Shop also help to make the maintenance easier.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers product page and can as such be subject to changes in future revisions of the product.

Key Features:

  • ASRock Super Alloy
  • Server-Grade LAN chip support
  • Supports the Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 Processor & 6th Generation Intel Core Processors (Socket 1151)
  • Supports DDR4 2133 & ECC UDIMM memory modules
  • 2 PCIe 3.0 x16 and 3 PCIe 3.0 x1
  • Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec), ELNA Audio Caps
  • 6 SATA3 and 6 USB 3.0 (2 Front, 4 Rear)
  • Supports Full Spike Protection, ASRock Live Update & APP Shop
  • Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit, 8.1 64-bit, 7 32-bit, 7 64-bit, Server 2012 R2 64-bit, Server 2012 64-bit, and Server 2008 R2 64-bit support

Packaging and Accessories

A quality motherboard also deserves a great look package, and the E3V5 WS got that. The front makes no secret about the boards power.

On the rear of the box, you will find a detailed photo of the motherboard itself as well as feature highlights and specifications.

Inside the box is a user manual, a driver disk, two SATA cables, and an IO shield besides the motherboard itself.

SilverStone EP03 USB 3.0 Charging Hub with Display Review

Introduction


USB hubs are nothing new and an essential tool for port multiplying which allows you to connect more devices to your system than you have ports available. This is particularly useful for mobile systems that come with very few ports on their own, but a stationary system can benefit equally from a good USB hub. In today’s review, I am taking a closer look at SilverStone’s EP03 USB 3.0 hub with built-in supercharger function and an integrated display for monitoring voltage and current on all ports.

At heart, SilverStone’s EP03 is a 4-port USB 3.0 hub capable of 5 Gbps transfer speeds. It is naturally also compatible with both USB 2.0 and 1.1 devices on both the host port and the individual connectors. That in itself is nothing new, but everything else is. In fact, this is a pretty smart hub.

When you pick the EP03 hub up and hold it in your hands, you have no doubt that this is a quality built hub. It feels sturdy and it also looks pretty good with its simple plastic case and top plate made of brushed aluminium.

The top is also what instantly reveals one of the features that make this USB hub unique, the built-in display. You can watch the current and voltage in real-time on the display for each of the four ports. Port selection is handled by the small button next to the display which lets you cycle the four ports.

As the display already indicates, this isn’t just a USB hub for peripheral and drive connection, it is also an intelligent charging station that can satisfy users’ increasing demand for fast charging of power-hungry mobile devices. It can deliver 2A to each of the four ports simultaneously and is fully compliant with the USB power delivery specifications 1.2 (BC 1.2).

In addition, the built-in protection mechanism ensures the EP03 can deliver power evenly and safely according to the number or the state of battery charge of connected devices. All these features can also be used to check if a new/replacement charging cable is up to the task and comes with the proper specifications compared to your original cable.

The SilverStone EP03 comes with an AC adapter included which both ensures that you have enough current to all ports, but also allows you to use it as charging station with the use of a host system. It comes with built-in over current and over voltage protections too, so all your connected devices should be safe.

The hub is built around a Genesys Logic GL3522 chipset which actually is a USB 3.1 Gen 1 controller, but that just leaves internal headroom and ensures the best possible connection.

Feature Highlights

  • Integrated display for monitoring voltage and current
  • Supports current up to 2A for each USB port
  • Provides four 5Gbps Super Speed USB 3.0 USB ports
  • High quality brushed aluminum design
  • Supports over voltage and over current protection
  • Includes AC adapter for stable power delivery
  • Compliant with USB power delivery specification 1.2

Package and Accessories

SilverStone always has some great looking packages for their devices and it’s no different for this USB 3.0 hub with fast charging and power meter. It presents itself colourful to the user and begs to be taken home. I know I wouldn’t walk past it.

The rear of the box explains the features in multiple languages.

One of the sides has more details on the product itself in the form of images and text.

And the other side has all the detailed specifications. Overall, a box that tells us everything there is to know about the product inside.

Inside the box, we find a USB 3.0 cable, an AC/DC power adapter, a user guide, and the USB hub itself.

QNAP TAS-268 QTS and Android Combo NAS Review

Introduction


In today’s review, I am taking a look at a NAS that comes with a twist that we previously haven’t seen out-of-the-box. I’m talking about QNAP’s TAS-268 NAS which is a 2-bay hybrid NAS that runs both QNAP’s QTS and Android at the same time. The TAS-268 doesn’t just have a twist in the operating system, the physical form also takes a different approach than most NAS on the market.

At the core, the QNAP TAS-268 is a normal NAS with the function that you would expect from such a unit. It doesn’t come with the most power processor, but in return, it also comes with a low price tag despite all the functionality. It is built around an ARM 1.1 GHz dual-core processor and comes with 2GB DDR3 memory. It also features an onboard 4GB flash memory to be used by the Android system. While this doesn’t sound like much, it should be plenty for this device’s functions.

Besides this 2-bay unit, QNAP also released a 1-bay unit with the only difference being the number of drives you can install. But it is the 2-bay unit that we’re looking at today and it supports RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD, and single disk setup with two 3.5-inch hard disk drives. There are plenty of external connection options on the TAS-268 with one Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port, four USB 2.0 ports on the rear and one USB 3.0 port on the front.

The front also features an SD card slot for easy and portable storage connection just as you’re used to from your Android phone or tablet – just much easier. You don’t need to remove any covers and battery as it is the case with many phones, instead, you have the SD slot right at the front of the device where you need it.

To complete the convenience experience, QNAP also added the one-touch copy button which allows just what the name promised, copy the content from the front USB port with a single press of the button. How the button shall react can be changed in the QTS system and it is capable of copy operations in both directions, both to and from the USB drives.

With a NAS like this that supports Android, we also need an HDMI port in order to connect it to our monitor or TV and the TAS-2688 also features this on the rear. It is accompanied by four USB 2.0 ports that come in handy for keyboard, mouse, and game controller connection in order to take even better advantage of the Android platform and all the available apps. You can also control the system through the use of the included IR remote control. The TS-268 supports HD and 4K H.265 / H.264 file formats, 4K H.264 with up to 15 frames per second and 4K H.265 with up to 30 frames per second.

Shouldn’t you want to connect the device via HDMI or maybe you just want to get your stored and linked media files onto more devices then you can take advantage of the common DLNA streaming that QNAP also supports. Consoles, Smart TVs, Mini-PCs and much more support this and it is probably the easiest method of streaming content.

Google Play also provides various media apps including YouTube, TED, Twitch and other video apps to be used directly on the NAS. You can install and stream movies, cartoons, TV series, news, and sports at any time in order to enrich your entertainment level.

QNAP introduced their myQNAPcloud system quite a while ago by now and naturally the TAS-268 also supports this. It isn’t just a simple and effective way to set up your new NAS, it also allows you to connect to the finished setup much quicker and easier. By acting as a simplified and locked-in dynamic DNS system it will allow you to easily connect to your NAS, securely, from anywhere in the world and any device as long as you and the NAS both have internet connectivity.

With that in mind, it is incredibly easy to create you own personal cloud system where you don’t have to rely on commercial or free options that thousands of other people use. Keep your files at home where you know who has access and who doesn’t. It is a breeze to sync files to the NAS via QNAP’s own Qsync as well as the Cloud Drive Sync app from the QTS app center that can sync files with Google Drive and Dropbox.

Both real-time and scheduled backups on Windows systems as well as with Time Machine on Mac OS systems is easily taken care of with QNAP’s NetBak replicator and it also features disaster recovery solutions including RTRR, rsync, and cloud storage backup (Dropbox and Google Drive) are also included. So all the bases are covered.

As previously mentioned, you naturally also get the ordinary NAS cross-platform file sharing capabilities from a centralized data storage. Whether you use Linux, Unix, Windows, or Mac OS, your connection is covered. And with the use of apps you get the same connectivity on your Windows Mobile, Android, or iOS system.

So far I have mostly been talking about the software functionality, but that’s just one of the great aspects on this NAS. The design is quite a bit different than we are used with a vertical unit rather than a horizontal oriented. This saves space on the desk with a smaller footprint which can be a vital factor near your entertainment system and similar likely placement scenarios.

The TAS-28 is also a very light unit due to a simple and clever design. Even better, the entire NAS can be set up completely tool-less for your convenience. There is a single thumbscrew at the bottom with which you can open up the chassis and the drive are mounted tool-less too with the included adapters.

Despite having a unique outer design, a lot of the internal design is something that reminds us of previous 2-bay NAS units – just improved with the tool-less drive mounting options and vertical instead of horizontal.

With all this talk about Android, we shouldn’t forget about the base QTS operating system. It provides a web-based user interface to help you easily manage files on the TAS-268. You can install various apps based on your needs to fulfill tasks like storage, backup, management and multimedia applications. File Station allows you to upload, download and manage files anywhere with a web browser. All of your photos, music and videos can be indexed by the built-in Media Library, and easily managed and shared with the Photo Station, Music Station and Video Station. The energy-saving Download Station is your 24/7 download center, allowing you to quickly download files to enrich your collection.

Feature Highlights

  • Dual-core CPU
  • Android and QTS operating system
  • Organize & manage files and backup tasks in one centralized location
  • Synchronize files between computers, laptops, and mobile devices
  • Remotely access your files securely from your personal cloud
  • Stream your multimedia library via DLNA to other devices and your TV
  • Enjoy direct media playback via HDMI with HD videos and photos
  • Compact and streamlined chassis ideal for a desktop or living room environment

Packaging and Accessories

The TAS-268 comes in a simple white box with a representation of the NAS unit as well as the feature highlights.

The rear of the box contains some more information as to what’s so special about this NAS, but it’s kept short.

Opening up the box and we find a brand new NAS that is well protected with self-adhesive plastic film – you know the kind we all love to peel off once we get a new gadget.

Besides the NAS itself, there is a quick installation guide to help you get started quickly, a power supply brick and power cord fitting the region you bought it in as well as an RJ45 LAN cable.

There’s also a small remote control included that is about 3 inches long. Shown below are also the four HDD mounting brackets that simply snap into the drive and hold it in place.

Supermicro X11SAE Workstation (Intel C236) Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


Intel recently released their Greenlow based Skylake series Xeon CPUs and it’s a pleasure to take a look at the first enterprise-grade motherboard built for these processors today. I have Supermicro’s X11SAE motherboard on the test bench which is a standard ATX-sized single CPU board, but one with all the trimmings.

“Supermicro’s new X11 UP workstations, long-life embedded systems and motherboards integrate the latest technologies such as USB 3.1 and M.2 as well as step up performance, density and efficiency to provide a new generation of Green Computing solutions,” said Charles Liang, President and CEO of Supermicro. “Indeed, with Supermicro’s first-to-market integration, advanced engineering and architecture expertise, we deliver the widest range of Skylake-S platforms available to the industry, enabling our customers with exactly the best competitive advantage on the market.”

Supermicro’s X11SAE doesn’t just support the new Greenlow Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 family CPUs, you can also use 6th Gen Core i7, i5, i3, Pentium, and Celeron series processors. The brain behind the motherboard is the new C236 chipset which comes with a lot of enhancements over the predecessors and Supermicro generally added the newest technologies to this motherboard. Additionally, the motherboard supports up to 64GB DDR4 2133MHz ECC UDIMMs in its 4 sockets. While this motherboard does support ECC and non-ECC modules, it doesn’t support RDIMMS, so make sure you get the right ones.

There are plenty of storage features on this motherboard with the eight native SATA3 6 Gbps ports provided directly by the chipset. The ports support RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 for that extra spice in your storage setup and the motherboard also has two SuperDOM ports with built-in power. You’ll also find a next-gen PCIe M.2 slot beside the default SATA3 ports, allowing you to get that extra speed. The M.2 slot doesn’t support AHCI modules, but 2242, 2260, and 2280 PCIe modules will run at a great speed thanks to the x4 slot.

Further expansion can be added through the two PCI-E 3.0 x16 and three PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots. The Supermicro X11SAE also features two legacy 5V PCI 32-bit slots for use with older hardware despite the upgrade to the newest platform.

Externally the X11SAE has two Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 LAN ports where one is powered by an Intel i210-AT and the other is powered by an Intel i219LM chip. There’s also a DVI, a DisplayPort, and an HDMI out for use when processors with iGPU are inserted into the motherboard. Further, you’ll find two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.1 ports on the rear IO area. The USB 3.1 ports sport the increased bandwidth and power which allows it to run with up to 10Gbps.

Internally you can connect an additionally four USB 3.0 and size USB 2.0 ports. The motherboard also features two COM port headers, an ALC 888S 7.1 HD Audio chip, a TPM 1.2 header, and much more.

A workstation motherboard also needs a good set of monitoring abilities. You can connect up to five PWM fans with status monitor for speed control, on/off settings, and tachometer. The temperature monitoring includes the CPU and chassis environment as well as CPU thermal trip support and I2C temperature sensing logic and Thermal Monitor 2 (TM2) support.

As a Supermicro motherboard, we also have the benefits of their SuperDoctor 5 software that monitors system health of hardware and operating system services from the target nodes in real-time and provides alerts to administrators on the availability of systems in data centers.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers product page and can as such be subject to changes in future revisions of the product.

Key Features:

  • Single socket H4 (LGA 1151) supports: Intel Xeon processor E3-1200 v5, Intel 6th Gen. Core i7/i5/i3 series, Intel Celeron and Intel Pentium
  • Intel C236 chipset
  • Up to 64GB Unbuffered ECC/non-ECC, UDIMM DDR4 2133MHz; 4x DIMM slots
  • 2 PCI-E 3.0 x16 (run at 16/NA or 8/8), 3 PCI-E 3.0 x1 (in x4), and 2 5V PCI 32-bit slots
  • Single GbE LAN with Intel i210-AT, Single GbE LAN with Intel i219LM
  • 8x SATA3 (6Gbps) via C236; RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 + 1 PCIe M.2 (support PCIe x4 only, 2242/2260/2280)
  • I/O: 2x COM, TPM 1.2 header
  • 2x SuperDOM with built-in power
  • 6x USB 3.0 (2 rear + 4 via header), 8x USB 2.0 (2 rear + 6 via headers), 2x USB 3.1 (10Gbps, rear)

Packaging and Accessories

The Supermicro X11SAE comes in a neutral package and that’s all that’s needed for a board like this. It isn’t one you’ll find on a shelve in the local store while browsing around, it’s one your order because you know it’s the one you want. There’s still a sticker on the side that will tell you what’s inside and what the base specifications are.

The rear of the box explains a little bit about the series of motherboards which this one is part off. You get basic information about the series as well as a quick view of optimized chassis and systems.

Inside the box we find four SATA3 cables and the IO shield next to the motherboard itself.

SilverStone PTS01 USB 3.0 Enclosure for NUC Review

Introduction


Intel’s NUC series of mini PCs as well as SilverStone’s lineup of Petit series are amazing and bring a lot of great hardware in a very tiny box. They do however have one problem for some people and that is the lack of storage upgradeability. A few of the NUCs have a 2.5-inch bay, but most only feature mSATA, M.2, and similar next generation form factors. That sets some limitations, but limitations are meant to be broken and SilverStone did that with their PTS01 external USB 3.0 storage enclosure that fits the NUC and Petit cases like a glove.

SilverStone designed the PTS01 specifically for the Intel NUC as the majority of the NUC motherboards only support mSATA in order to reduce the dimensions. Where basic and small is great for the one, the other wants a little more. The PTS01 easily stacks with the NUC and Petit series chassis and it can even be placed between the NUCs and their mounting positions such as behind monitors. That way you don’t increase the footprint of your system, at least if you got a little more space behind your monitor.

You can mount a 2.5-inch hard disk or solid state drive with a maximum height of 9mm in the SilverStone PTS01. It is fully SATA III and USB 3.0 compatible with backward compatibility on both sectors. This could truly be the perfect and most convenient way to expand the storage of your NUC system.

The PTS01 is made from aluminum and steel which makes it sturdy and also helps with the cooling of the drive you mount inside. The tiny chassis measures just 122mm by 108mm by 15mm and it weighs just 125-gram thanks to the choice of material.

The SilverStone PTS01 storage enclosure is very simple on its own as it’s just a two-piece enclosure held together by eight screws and containing a small PCB at one end. On the PCB, you can see the USB 3.0 port and the activity LED to the right and we also spot the ASMedia ASM1153E USB 3.0 to Serial SATA bridge chip. The ASM1153E supports UASP for even better transfer speeds and a larger command queue. The enclosure did however not register as UASP device on my Windows 8 Pro system.

Feature Highlights

  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 with 5Gbps
  • Supports Intel NUC cases
  • Supports SATA3 2.5” SSD/HDD x 1
  • Robust aluminum and steel body construction

Specifications

Package and Accessories

The simple black box has a premium feel over it thanks to the full-colour print, although you probably won’t look much at the box after you unpacked the enclosure. It also showcases the product itself and the main features right on the front.

The rear of the box has all the specifications themselves and a small image showcasing the usage directly connected to a Petit case.

Inside the box you find the enclosure itself along with a USB connection cable and all the screws you need to mount a drive inside as well as mount it to the NUC or Petit chassis.

Thecus N7770-10G Elite-Class Business 7-Bay NAS Review

Introduction


Today’s review is a real pleasure for me as I get to take a closer look and test an elite class business NAS with built-in 10GbE and high availability function. I got Thecus’ N7770-10G 7-bay business NAS on the table and I’m going to give it thorough testing to show you just how amazing it is.

When I review consumer class NAS devices, I often talk about how they are suited for all sorts of media and streaming needs as that is the main focus for that group. The Thecus N7770-10G does all this too and it does it great, but it isn’t what it was designed for. This is a business class NAS and as such it needs a whole other set of features and functionality. You get a complete backup solution that includes the use of external devices, cloud backup, snapshots, and client backup as well as total security thanks to Intel Security Antivirus, AES 256-bit encryption, and VPN server functionality. The N7770-10G still provides all the mobile connectivity and media streaming capabilities as well as centralized authentication control.

The Thecus N7770-10G NAS isn’t built around a low-power ARM or Intel Celeron CPU, instead it’s built with a full Intel Core i3-2120 dual-core processor that has a base clock speed of 3.3GHz. To go with that CPU, you get 8GB DDR3 ECC memory that is expandable all the way to 32GB, dual Gigabit Ethernet, 10GbE card pre-installed, and 7 drive bays for a lot of raw storage.

It is my personal opinion that we have been stuck at 1Gbps ethernet connections for way too long. While we had the ability to link those together to achieve better connections, it is old by now and today’s needs also increase the need for better connectivity. In that regard, I’m glad to see Thecus having this model with an included 10GbE adapter, making it ready for the step into the next speed category. It still features two Intel 82574L Gigabit Ethernet connections too, which you naturally all can link aggregate and trunk. Further, you get a total of six USB 2.0 ports where two of them are on the front and two USB 3.0 ports on the rear. The HDMI port further allows you to turn your NAS into the ultimate multimedia hub by connecting the NAS directly to your TV or monitor.

The N7770-10G supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 10, 50 and JBOD modes besides single disk usage. You can create multiple RAID volumes with different modes, only limited by the amount of drives you have available for the pool. Should a hard drive malfunction occur, changing one is simple thanks to online RAID migration and expansion, hot spare, and auto rebuild. You can also pick which filesystem you prefer as the N7770-10G supports EXT3, EXT4, Btrfs and XFS for increased flexibility and ability to suit many different types of environments. Users can simultaneously use different file systems across multiple RAID volumes to get the best of each one.

iSCSI Thin-Provisioning is a thing that many people still read past as they don’t really know what it is, but it is well worth getting the handle on, as you can manage your storage better and get better speeds. Connect through iSCSI for the fastest data transfer speeds available and make wasted disk space a thing of the past with thin provisioning’s flexible storage functionality. Windows Server, NT, and XP users will need to download the iSCIC initiator from Microsoft, but Windows 7, 8, and 10 users, for example, have it built right into the OS. If in doubt, just search for iSCSI from your Windows start menu search.

Two awesome features in Thecus NAS’ that often are overlooked, are the Disk Clone and Disk Wipe functions. Both can be extremely useful for both business and home users. The Disk Clone features allows you to copy the entire contents of a disk to one or many other disks while the Disk Wipe function allows you to permanently destroy a volumes data.

Business data is sensitive data and sensitive data needs to be protected. Thecus N7770-10G offers AES 256-bit RAID volume encryption that allows you to fully encrypt the entire RAID volume. Sensitive data also has to be sent and received with the proper security, for this you can set up the VPN server. It allows users to remotely access a secure network with the equipment already at hand.

Data Guard backup solution is the ultimate software as it provides both local and remote parts. Currently, data is backed up across RAID volumes and external drives. In addition, Data Guard uses innovative technology to sync data across the network to other NAS and servers. It makes managing NAS user-friendly and convenient. But there are many ways to backup your data and the Thecus N7770-10G pretty much supports them all.

With BTRFS support, users can enjoy the simplicity of snapshot backups. Snapshots of data at various time points can be manually or automatically made and just as easily later restored to rollback files or folders to previous states. Rsync is probably the most common used technique and Thecus supports this too. It gives great flexibility with remote backup capability, a flexible scheduler, and the stability of Linux-based transfer.

You can easily create your own cloud solution with the Thecus N7770-10G, but that doesn’t mean that the existing cloud providers should be counted out. There can be many reasons to use these services and Thecus supportsDropBox, Amazon S3, and ElephantDrive cloud backup functionality. The best here is that it is as easy to use and setup as all the normal and local sharing functions.

Data Burn is another great feature that comes in line with the previous mentioned Disk Clone and Disk Wipe features. With Data Burn, you can connect a CD, DVD, or Blue-ray burner and create physical optical backups of your data. In addition, it also supports burning of ISO image files instead. You can of course also use a connected optical drive to easily backup the data to your NAS.

When you buy a Thecus NAS like this, you also get a few extra software pieces that are well worth having. The hardware in itself is solid quality while failovers and redundancies are available for almost all systems. But you also need to protect your files and an Antivirus software is perfect for this. Thecus partnered with McAfee and includes their award-winning software for free.

Acronis True Image is also included for free and it is one of the easiest ways to manage your backups, I use it quite often on both a personal level and for my reviews setups. It is one of the easiest pieces of backup software available with a long set of functions and One-click protection setups.

Keeping an eye on the NAS while you’re on the go isn’t a problem either thanks to iOS and Android connectivity. With T-OnTheGo and the T-Dashboard, you can manage your NAS, and upload to and download/stream from your NAS using an iOS or Android device on the go.

Feature Highlights

  • Intel Core i3-2120 (3.3.GHz Dual Core) processor
  • 8 GB DDR3 ECC Memory (Expandable to 32 GB)
  • 10GbE card included
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • Hot-swappable hard drives
  • RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, and JBOD

Packaging and Accessories

The front and the back of the box look the same, and it looks stunning. There is no doubt looking at the package that we’re dealing with a premium NAS. The feature highlights as well as the NAS itself are shown clearly and easy to spot.

The side of the box goes more into detail on the specifications and package content. This is also where it will be marked what market it is intended for, which really only comes down to what power cable is included.

The other side shows the feature highlights and how it can be useful in pretty much any scenario. As the box says, A NAS for every need.

Inside the box we find a power cable for our region, a single RJ45 ethernet cable, four keys for the drive trays, screws for seven 3.5-inch drives and screws for seven 2.5-inch drives as well as a utilities disk, warranty card, and quick installation guide.

TP-Link Archer VR900 AC 1900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Modem Router Review

Introduction


For today’s review I am taking the TP-Link Archer VR900AC 1900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit VDSL/ADSL Modem Router for a spin in our test area to see how well it performs, it surely sounds like a great device. While the Archer VR900 looks very similar to the Archer C9 that we reviewed not long ago, it’s quite the different device and it also sports some general improvements over the C9.

Most noticeable is the built-in modem that allows you to connect it directly to your phone line when using that sort of connection. There is no need to keep the old modem around and couple a router on the back of it in order to gain the features and functionality you want; The Archer VR900 does it all. It supports all current ADSL as well as VDSL formats right out of the box.

TP-Link didn’t just stop after adding the DSL modem to the VR900, they also made sure that it will work with pretty much any connection. At some point, and as it becomes available in more and more regions, there is a good chance that you’ll switch from your DSL line to a more modern Fibre optical connection. When you do so, you don’t need to replace the VR900 with something new as it also supports a direct WAN connection via the fourth LAN port. But once again, TP-Link weren’t satisfied with the connection options, so they made sure that you’re also able to connect it to 3G or 4G/LTE network via a USB dongle and the two onboard USB ports. All in all, there isn’t much that this router can’t do and connect to.

The TP-Link VR900 is an AC1900 dual-band router, meaning it can perform with up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 1300 Mbps on the 5GHz band for a combined throughput of 1900 MBps. It has a great coverage thanks to the three 5 dBi omni-directional antennas. The wireless range and performance is further enhanced thanks to the beamforming technology that is applied on both wireless bands.

Inside the router is a 1GHz dual-core processor that makes sure that you don’t encounter any bottlenecks as the router has to perform its tasks.

The wireless bands feature the normal 64bit and 128bit WEP, WPA, and WPA2 encryptions for secure connections and the WPS button makes connecting devices as easy as it can be. The software parts feature everything from Wireless MAC filtering, QoS control, NAT Firewall, VPN, Virtual server and Port Triggers, as well as any other function you could want from a router. Guest networking and parental control is also present and both are great features to have around.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

A great router like this also deserves a beautiful wrapping and TP-Link delivers that. The Archer VR900 has a simple yet very beautiful package. The front shows the device itself as well as providing all the basic feature information.

On the rear of the package, we find more details about the specific functions as well as a comparison table with other TP-Link devices. That way it’s even easier to pick just the right model when you’re visiting your local tech shop and have them all in front of you.

Inside we find everything we need to get it set up. The router itself and a power supply for it, two RJ11 cables and a splitter for your DSL connection, an RJ45 LAN cable, and the three detachable antennas as well as a quickstart guide and technical references.

Gigabyte MW70-3S0 (Intel C612) Dual CPU Workstation Motherboard Review

Introduction


Gigabyte’s motherboard series based on the Intel C612 chipset is quite an impressive one and I’ve already had the pleasure to test the MU70-SU0 server motherboard. Today I’m taking a look at its bigger brother, the dual socket Gigabyte MW70-3S0 workstation motherboard.

The Gigabyte MW70-3S0 workstation motherboard is based around Intel’s C612 chipset and offers you two LGA 2011-3 sockets with support for Intel’s Xeon E5-2600 V3 processors as well as 16 DDR4 modules for a total of up to 768GB RAM. The MW70-3S0 is a workstation board and as such it offers some other features than server boards, such as Multi-GPU configuration. With support for up to three graphics cards in CrossfireX or SLI via the three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and coupled with the CPU and memory support will make sure that we don’t run out of performance anytime soon.

One of the really great things about this board’s memory support is that it supports the full speed of 2133MHz, even when all 12 memory banks are populated. In the past, you had to make the choice, whether you wanted capacity or speed. Gigabyte made sure that you’ll have a maximum speed on all memory banks at all times.

We also get plenty of storage abilities on Gigabyte’s MW70-3S0. Not only does it provide 10 SATA3 ports via the Intel C612 chipset where two of them support SATA DOMs, we also get an LSI SAS 3008 onboard controller with two Mini-SAS ports for eight SAS 12GB/s drives. The SATA ports support RAID 0/1/5/10 while the SAS ports support RAID 0/1/1E/10. The connectivity is secured by two Intel i210 Gigabit Ethernet ports that allow for easy trunking and link aggregation.

Overall, this board is built with quality components that should make sure that everything runs stable and for a long time. It is equipped with IR Digital PWM and IR PowIRstage IC controllers to guarantee a stable operating environment and OS-CON capacitors with a minimum service life of 50.000 hours. The installed chokes are high-end ferrite core chokes that again should help deliver a stable power to both CPU and memory.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers homepage and are as such subject to change in possible future revisions.

Key Features

  • Intel Xeon processor E5-1600 V3 & E5-2600 V3 product families
  • 16 x RDIMM/LRDIMM ECC DDR4 DIMM slots
  • Supports 3-Way NVIDIA SLI / AMD CrossFireX
  • 2 x GbE LAN port (Intel I210)
  • 2 x Mini-SAS (for 8 x SAS 12Gb/s ports)
  • 10 x SATA III 6Gb/s
  • 7.1+2 HD Audio
  • 2 x USB 3.0 + 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 x USB 3.0 header + 1 x USB 2.0 header

Packaging and Accessories

The box follows a very simple design and is perfect for the market it’s aimed at. There is no need for fancy artwork like we’re used to on consumer motherboards.

The rear of the box gives a little detail about 3 key points that are important to a board of this caliber including reliability, availability, and serviceability. These are all major factors for any IT admin needing a reliable product with quality components that is easy to set up and maintain.

Inside the box, we find anything we need to get started, but nothing unnecessary that would drive up the overall price on the product. We get two SATA3 cables where one of them has an angled connector at one end, two CrossFireX bridges, as well as two NVIDIA SLI bridges for 2-way and 3-way SLI and CrossFireX support. There’s also the obligatory IO shield and a driver disk

ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R (Intel C612) mATX Server Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


The motherboard that I am taking a look at today is a little bit special as it is considered to be the first mATX motherboard featuring Intel Xeon E5 V3 series with LGA 2011-3 single socket. The ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R isn’t just a rarely seen form factor in this category, it also packs a huge punch and plenty of features such as quad-channel DDR4 memory support, dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet, dedicated IPMI, and native support for up to 16 storage drives.

Just because you decide to create a motherboard in the mATX form factor as ASRock Rack did here, doesn’t mean that you can’t add plenty of features to it. It’s all about using the available space properly. You get a total of eight SATA3 ports that are powered by the Intel C612 chipset and on top of that you get another eight SAS3 12Gbps ports thanks to the added LSI 3008 RAID controller. If that isn’t enough for you already, then you have plenty of possibilities to expand that with two PCIe Gen3 x16 and one PCIe Gen3 x8 slot.

The networking is a little bit special on this board as it comes with dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet thanks to the Intel X540 network controller. These ports are still RJ45 and backward compatible with normal RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet components. The ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R also features a dedicated IPMI 2.0 connection based on a Realtek RTL8211E controller that allows you to manage all your servers from a single connection, locally or remotely.

Four DDR4 DIMM slots with quad-channel support allows you to use this motherboard for memory-hungry applications and while the QVR list only has up to 16GB modules so far, you should also be able to use 32GB modules in this motherboard and get up to 128GB memory to support Intel’s latest Xeon E5 processors.

Overall, with the high performance processor, storage, and network all together in a mATX motherboard, the EPC612D4U-2T8R is perfect for the compact storage solution such as mid-range servers, web 2.0 storage servers, and other warm data servers. It also fits snugly into ASRock Rack’s previous released storage solution 1U12L-C612D4U, and currently has EPC612D4U, EPC612D4U-2T, EPC612D4U-8R and EPC612D4U-2T8R for customers’ selection.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers homepage and are as such subject to change in possible future revisions.

Key Features

There is always something that sets each and every motherboard apart for the rest, sometimes it’s in features and other times it is the software. On this motherboard, it is most likely the Network and storage capabilities as well as the form factor.

  • UATX 9.6”x9.6”
  • Single Socket LGA 2011 R3 Intel Xeon processor E5-1600/2600 v3 series
  • Supports Quad channel DDR4 2133/1866 RDIMM/LR DIMM/NV DIMM, 4 slots
  • Support 8 SATA3 by C612 and by 8 SAS3 LSI 3008
  • Supports 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x 8
  • ASPEED 2400. Integrated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and Dedicated LAN (RTL8211E)
  • Supports Intel Dual 10GLAN by Intel X540

Packaging and Accessories

A server motherboard doesn’t need to come in a fancy box with flashy images and slogans, and that is why we don’t get that here. The EPC612D4U-2T8R comes in a simple black box with a little graphic and basic keywords.

The rear of the box doesn’t provide much more information either, but it will tell you a little bit about ASRock Rack as a company.

I really like that ASRock Rack also packed the motherboard properly like seen below. It provides that extra bit of protection during the transport from factory to end-customer over a motherboard that’s just loosely packed into a cardboard box.

Besides the motherboard itself, you’ll find an IO Shield, driver disk, and manual along with six SATA3 cables inside the box. It is nice to see a printed manual come along as it will help a lot with the basic task of finding the headers and pins you need to set it up.

Supermicro X10SDV-F Xeon D-1540 SoC Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


The motherboard I’m taking a look at today is a little something special. It is a tiny board yet it packs a punch that is worthy of a large right hook. The Supermicro X10SDV-F is a Mini-ITX motherboard with an onboard Intel Xeon D-1540 System-on-a-Chip (SoC) processor and lot of other goodies to go along with it. The Intel Xeon D-1540 is an octa-core processor with sixteen threads. It runs at 2GHz with a boost of up to 2.6.GHz. You will also need a lot of RAM to go along with that kind of CPU and that isn’t any problem for this tiny Supermicro board. It supports up to 128GB DDR4 memory with its 4 DIMM slots. You also get six high-speed SATA3 ports, a PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot, a full speed PCIe Gen3 x16 slot and two Intel Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports. The bigger brother of this board is called the X10SDV-TLN4F which also features two integrated 10 Gigabit Intel Ethernet ports for those that need even more connectivity from a tiny board. Further, you get two USB 3.0 connectors on the rear I/O while USB 2.0 is provided via two headers. The remote management with a dedicated Realtek Ethernet port and built-in Aspeed graphics solution for maintenance and setup is another great feature and one that shouldn’t be missing on a server-grade motherboard.

There isn’t much you won’t find here. You can also choose whether you want to power it via a standard 24-pin power header or rather use 12V connectors depending on your power supply options. With a thermal design of just 45 watts TDP, the CPU can be passively cooled, but it is recommended that you cool the chassis properly.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers homepage and are as such subject to change in possible future revisions.

Key Features

There is always something that sets each and every motherboard apart for the rest, sometimes it’s in features and other times it is the software. On this motherboard, it is most likely the SoC and up to 128GB DDR4 memory support in this form factor.

  • mITX
  • Intel Xeon D-1540 SoC with 45W TDP
  • Up to 128GB DDR4 ECC Memory
  • ATX and 12V Dual power abilities and low power consumption
  • Dedicated IPMI Remote Management and SuperDoctor 5
  • 6 SATA3 ports, M.2 slot, USB 3.0 on-board, Dual Intel i350-AM2 Gigabit LAN
  • PCI-E gen3 x16 slot

Packaging and Accessories

As reviewers we don’t always get the retail package on these products as we simply don’t need them and the companies wish to get the products to us as fast as possible for review. In this case, I got the motherboard in a simple OEM box without any accessories. Normally however the motherboard includes two 57.5 cm flat SATA cables and a standard I/O shield.

Synology DiskStation DS215+ 2-Bay NAS and All-In-One Server Review

Introduction


Last month I had the pleasure to take a look at the Synology DS715 [review here] 2-bay NAS and today I continue with Synology’s second recently released NAS, the Synology DiskStation DS215+.

The DS215+ is an all-in-one 2-bay NAS server that offers high performance while staying energy-efficient and providing a full set of business features. The dual-core CPU is powerful enough to handle multi-tasking applications and can help small and medium businesses to centralize their backups, protect critical assets, and share files quickly and efficiently – and that on a budget.

Inside the DiskStation DS215+, we find an Annapurna AL-212 dual core ARM processor with 1.4GHz with floating point unit and hardware encryption engine and 1GB DDR3 memory.

There are plenty of connection options on the DS215+ starting with the two Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 ports that allow you to set all modes of failover and link aggregation, including IEEE 802.3ad. The unit has two USB 3.0 ports for external drives and other devices as well as an eSATA port. Readers familiar with my reviews will know that I love it when they add the eSATA port as it is my preferred method of attaching external storage as it doesn’t have the same latency as USB does.

The hardware encryption engine coupled with the other improvements allow this unit to deliver twice the performance over the predecessor when dealing with encrypted storage.

Synology’s drive trays in these units are awesome and allow for a speedy setup as well as maintenance. The screw and tool-less design is as simple to use as pulling the sides off, inserting the drive and putting them back on. The trays are also lockable which is another bonus. You don’t eject them by accident and no false friend runs off with your drives that easy.

The software part is well covered by Synology’s DiskStation Manager (DSM), an operating system that has won a lot of rewards, and all well deserved. It comes with most basic and used features as standard and you’ll most likely find what is missing there in the add-on section. DSM is real easy to use and has great multi-tasking support.

One of the great features of DSM is the File station, a fast and secure way for sharing and managing your files stored on the DS215+. It has built-in FTP and email clients and allows drag and drop of files from both Windows and Mac OS systems. Mobile systems can do the same with the DS file app. HTTPS, SSL/TLS encryption, and link expiry dates also ensure file sharing over the Internet stays secure.

The basic file sharing on your network isn’t any problem for the DS215+ either as it supports it all. SMB2, FTP, NFS, WbDAV, windows AD and LDAP – you’ll find it all. Network recycle bin is also available on both AFP and CIFS shares.

The DS215+ allows for seamless account integration thanks to the User Home feature that automatically creates user folders to minimize effort while the Windows ACL support allows admins to fine-tune access controls and set up privileges through a familiar interface.

This is truly an all-in-one server as it is labeled with everything it supports. From file storage and media streaming over Mail servers and VPN servers, the DS215+ lets you do it all. It can also work as a print server with your USB printers and share them over the network as well as act as DNS server, Directory Server, RADIUS Server, DHCP Server, and Log Center. All that in one tiny box.

With the support of Windows AD, LDAP, and Domain Trust, DS215+ enables seamless account integration. The User Home feature can automatically create a “home” folder for every user account to minimize the administrator’s effort in repeatedly creating “home” folders for all accounts. Windows ACL support on DS215+ allows IT administrators to fine-tune access controls and set up privileges to files and folders on DS215+ through the familiar Windows user interface. With compatibility for major protocols, DS215+ can eliminate server configuration overhead and enhance IT administrators’ efficiency.

 

Backup and storage works in many ways and one very useful is the personal cloud the DS215+ allows you to set up. The Cloud Station allows you to sync files between devices in online and offline mode. The Cloud Station can remember up to 32 historical versions, encrypts the traffic, and can also sync between different NAS stations as well as mobile devices.

Security isn’t just well covered in the Cloud Station and Drives with the AES 256-bit encryption, the DS215+ also supports Antivirus and basic network security. You can also enable two-step verification for your users.

All of Synology’s mobile apps work great with this device, may they be DS note, DS audio, DS video, DS photo+, DS cloud, DS file, DS download, and DS cam. Everything right at your fingertips and on your smartphone or tablet.

 

That is a lot of functionality and features in one little device and one that saves both the environment and your wallet thanks to the low power consumption. When the HDDs hibernate, the DS215+ consumes just about 9W and less than 21 W when accessed. Thinking small can pay off in the long run.

Inateck HB4009 3-Port USB 3.0 Hub With MagicPort for KM Switch and Sharing

Introduction


Have you ever found yourself in the situation that you have run out of USB ports? Maybe your sick and tired or switching your hub from system to system depending on where you need? Or how nice would it be to use the same keyboard and mouse on multiple computers and just switch the target when needed?

If you could answer yes to just one of those things, then one Inateck’s latest products might be just the right match for you. The Inateck HB4009 USB 3.0 3-port hub with Magic Port can do all of the above and a little more.

Let us start with the basics. You get a small 3-port USB 3.0 hub, allowing you to connect all your high-speed storage devices at once, even when you’re out of onboard connectors. The HG4009 is a USB hub and as such supports what it is connected to, including UASP for maximized transfer speeds and full utilization of the 5Gbps USB 3.0 capabilities.

But this isn’t an ordinary USB hub, far from it. The HB4009 it features the Magic Port on the end of the device, and it carries that name with a good right. Instead of being a port to connect another device, it’s a port to connect it to another computer – at the same time.

Whether the two connected systems run Windows or Mac OS, the Inateck HB4009 connects to them all. It can even connect to OTG enabled Android devices. Smartphones and tablets lack the normal USB port to connect it, so Inateck included an OTG adapter, converting the normal USB connector to a micro version.

The advanced functions, meaning everything besides the USB hub itself, do require software or drivers. Thanks to the design of the hub, it has an internal storage where all this is located.

The MacKMLink software allows you to switch keyboard and mouse between your Windows and Mac systems and the VirtualLink will provide you with a link and QR code to download the Android app. It’s a simple way to include it all in one package without the users needing to have an optical drive to install from or having to download drivers and carry around all the time. Take the hub with you and you have what you need to use it.

The MacKMLink software doesn’t just allow you to switch your keyboard and mouse from one system to another, it also allows you to share the clipboard and copy files from one system to another without the need for an extra network connection.

The hub itself is made from grey plastic and the USB ports themselves are metallic gilded for long-term usage. The gold-plated USB connectors should last a lot of plugging.

A really cool thing about the KM switch is that the keyboard and mouse don’t need to be connected to the hub itself. It will simply take over the control, when you want it to, of the already connected devices. You can use either mouse or keyboard from either connected system. This is awesome.

Synology DiskStation DS715 2-Bay Value NAS Review

Introduction


It has been a while since I had the pleasure to review a Synology NAS which makes it even more of a pleasure to take the brand new Synology DiskStation DS715 2-bay NAS for a spin. And while it does look ordinary on the first glance, I can tell you it isn’t.

The DS715 is an expandable NAS server, equipped with a powerful quad-core processor with hardware encryption engine and the ability to expand up to 7 drives thanks to the optional expansion unit. You can’t just expand it with extra bays, you can also connect it with Synology’s High Availability (SHA) technology that combines active and passive servers into one cluster.

The DS715 looks to be a perfect balance between performance, features, and value – so let us take a closer look at it.

The Synology DS715 is built around the Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-314 quad-core processor with 1.4GHz. We’ve previously seen a great performance from just this chip in the DS1515 NAS. The CPU has both hardware encryption engine and floating point unit.

The DS715 comes with 2GB DDR3 memory and the drive bays support hot swapping as it has to be. The unit is rated for 16TB raw capacity on its own, but that limitation only exists based on the drives currently available. Nothing should block you from using 10TB or bigger drives ones they become available.

If that still isn’t enough for you, then you’ll just expand the NAS with the DX513 five-bay expansion unit. It gives additional storage on the fly while being supported as if they were internal drives. You can easily expand your overall raw capacity to 56TB with 8TB drives.

The two Gigabit Ethernet ports ensure the connectivity to your network. You can set seven modes of failover and link aggregation depending on your switching setup and need for redundancy and increased throughput. 802.3ad dynamic setup is just one of the available, but probably the most important of the modes.

The addition of an eSATA port is something I love to see and it is my personal preferred method of connecting external storage. It is also the method of connecting the aforementioned DX513 expansion unit. The two USB 3.0 ports allows you to connect other storage drives, printers, or cameras.

The drive trays are tool and screwless, at least for 3.5-inch drives. If you wish to use the NAS with 2.5-inch drives, then you’ll need the included screws to mount them. Otherwise you just pull off the sides on the tray, place the hard disk inside and put them back. All done. Slide the trays back into your NAS and get started. Plug and Play.

Synology’s operating system is called DiskStationa Manager (DSM) and it is now in version 5.2. It is a really robust system that is easy to use and one that brings plenty of features. It also has built-in NVR server, capable of hosting up to 30 IP cameras (900 FPS @ 720p). Two camera licenses are included and more will have to be purchased separately.

Windows AD, LDAP, and Domain Trust allow for seamless account integration with the rest of your equipment and also feature user home folders and Windows ACL. It doesn’t really matter how you want to connect it, you can.

The DS715 also comes with support for Synology Central Management System (CMS). CMS offers both flexibility and convenience for administrators, allowing them to manage all systems from a single point.

File sharing works with all major system, may it be Linux, Windows, or Mac OS. Included protocols are FTP, SMB2, AFP, NFS and WebDAV among others.

The Cloud Station allows for easy backup from all your system to the DS715 NAS and it also supports Rsync, backup to external drives, other NAS devices, or public cloud offerings.

A minor thing, but one that I love, is that Synology included two RJ45 LAN cables with this unit. An LAN cable doesn’t cost much and it is really annoying to get a unit as cool as this and then have to head out again to get an LAN cable so you can setup your link aggregation. Not so here, everything you need to get started, except the hard drives, is included.

WD My Cloud EX4100 4-Bay Expert Series 16TB NAS Review

Introduction


We ain’t all equally skilled when it comes to the configuration of network and storage devices nor is it everyone that has the same interest in that. Sometimes you just want to purchase something, enter your preferred name and password, and then be ready to rock.

WD’s My Cloud series is designed for just these scenarios and it comes equipped with drives and is pre-configured. All you need to do yourself is connect it, turn the power on, and set your password. Today I’m taking a closer look at the WD My Cloud EX4100 from the Expert series and will give it a good spin in the test area.

The MyCloud EX4100 it is a 4-bay NAS unit and in this case it comes pre-loaded with four 4TB WD RED drives. Other disk configurations are available if 16TB shouldn’t be the right match. You can get it from driveless all the way up to 24TB raw capacity.

You will need some power on the insides to handle what the EX4100 promises and it comes with a dual-core Marvell ARMADA 388 processor that clocks at 1.6GHz and 2GB DDR3 memory. This should be plenty, but if it shouldn’t be then the EX4100 also comes with three USB 3.0 ports allowing you to connect extra external storage.

Two gigabit Ethernet ports take care of the network traffic and they fully support both port trunking and link aggregation for failover redundancy and improved traffic capabilities.

A nice bonus for every device is the built-in display at the top of the unit. It allows you to quickly see what’s going on with your unit, its name, network details, and storage setup. It will also keep you updated on the progress when you changing major configurations such as the drive setup.

Just because the unit comes pre-equipped with four drives doesn’t mean that you can’t replace them with smaller, bigger, or just other ones if you want to – or in case you bought a driveless unit. The EX4100 supports hot-swapping and comes with easy-release front bays for quick access. Pop the slider and the drive will eject.

It comes as no surprise that WD used their own RED series of NAS drives in these units. They are built especially for NAS usage, so what better to pick. In this case, the unit is equipped with four of these 4TB drives. The WD RED series uses an IntelliPower RPM systems up to 5400 RPM and come with 64MB Cache.

The EX4100 doesn’t have any dedicated drive trays and is as such tool-less to upgrade. The drives are still firmly secured inside thanks to the large dividers. Not using drive caddies allows for a smaller and more narrow footprint, something anyone can appreciate.

The EX4100 supports RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 as well as JBOD and Spanning. While the RAID 0 to 60 modes are self-explanatory, how the terms JBOD and Spanning are used variates a bit, including Single disk. Essentially, JBOD and Spanning is the same thing but with a small difference. JBOD stands for Just a Bunch Of Disks, these can either be presented as single volumes or one large where they are used as extension for each other. Spanning, on the other hand, will create one large volume with all the drive space available and the drives don’t even need to be the same capacity.

JBOD stands for Just a Bunch Of Disks, these can either be presented as single volumes or one large where they are used as extension for each other. Spanning, on the other hand, will create one large volume with all the drive space available and the drives don’t even need to be the same capacity.

In the EX4100’s case, JBOD will result in four individual volumes and spanning will create one large volume without redundancy or performance improvements. As always, which mode i

As always, which mode you chose is down to your own needs. Whether you need a maximum amount of capacity, redundancy, performance improvements or a little of each.

Storage is just one side of the story, you also need to connect that storage somehow. The EX4100 comes with two Gigabit Ethernet ports that support both failover and port trunking.

The addition of a dual power supply system with a backup for emergency situations is awesome and something more NAS should feature. Any product can break for one reason or another and it should have a backup solution in case that happens.

The single and relative large 120mm fan helps to keep everything cool without creating too much noise. It only needs to rotate at low speeds to keep everything cool and operate optimally.

So far I’ve talked a lot about the hardware, but that’s just one side to the story. The software has to match with the right features, otherwise what would be the point.

It doesn’t matter if you want to connect to the WD MyCloud EX4100 from Windows, Linux, or your Mac OS based system, everything should be covered with Samba, Bonjour, and NFS3 support. The EX4100 also support VLAN, UPnP, iSCSI, SSH, and WebDAV and comes with an FTP server.

It is well suited to stream all your stored content to anything from smart devices to TVs and media players. Twonky’s UPnP media server, DLNA, and iTunes server are all present and it supports connection to devices such as WD TV Live, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows 8, connected TVs, Blu-ray players and digital picture frames.

Security is important everywhere and WD has that part covered too with features such as Active Directory support and 256-bit AES full volume encryption.

You can set up backup plans to local and remote locations as well as the same system, use Apple’s Time Machine, or use the cloud-based services Amazon and ElephantDrive. You can also sync drives with the attached USB 3.0 ports.

Security also involves power management and the EX4100 doesn’t just come with redundant PSU support, it can also control both network and USB connected UPS power backup devices.

Within the package you’ll find the NAS device with the drives inserted, a network cable, a power supply and, in this case two connector cables: one UK and one EU. There’s also a startup guide that will get you set up, even if you don’t know the darndest thing about NAS systems.

Remote access can not only be achieved through the web interface, you can also get both a desktop application and several mobile apps for your Android and iOS devices.

Other features such as a download server for both HTTP and P2P services, being IPv6 ready, supporting jumbo frames up to 9000 bytes, and SNMP for easy administrator management in larger environments are also all present.

If you’re concerned about the environment and having a device running all the time, then WD has you covered too. It features disk spin down when not need, which also will increase the drives lifespan, wake-on-LAN, automatic power recovery, and scheduled power on-off times.

The PCB has a simple build where only one side is utilized. The memory is soldered onto the board, so you can’t upgrade that, but that would also be kind of missing the target audience for a pre-setup unit.

We see that the memory used comes from SKhynix and the LAN ports are controlled by two Marvell 88E1512 chips. The USB 3.0 ports are controlled by a Renesas µPD720210 4-port hub controller.

QNAP Turbo NAS TS-453 Pro 4-Bay Enthusiast and SMB NAS Review

Introduction


Today I’m taking a look at one of QNAP’s bestsellers, the TurboStation TS-453 Pro NAS. The TS-453 Pro isn’t just an ordinary NAS and it is one that can carry the Pro label with pride. It is a powerful, reliable and scalable NAS for SMBs and power users alike.

Built around the Intel Celeron 2.0GHz quad-core processor with a burst speed of up to 2.41GHz, we know that the TS453 Pro won’t limit it on the CPU side. There is plenty of performance at its disposal to run a lot of simultaneous apps, features and functions without the risk of slow-downs or bottlenecks.

RAM wise QNAP offers two versions, the standard one with 2GB that should be sufficient for most users but also a model that comes factory equipped with 8GB RAM in two 4GB modules and that is the one that I’m having a look at today. Users can also upgrade and switch memory modules themselves and it’s as simple as sliding the top cover off.

QNAP built the TS-453 Pro with an internal power supply, a thing that has ups and down depending on how you look at it. The internal PSU allows for better distribution of the power as well as run optimized with better efficiency, whereas the external power brick seen in other devices helps when something breaks since you can replace it with a universal brick that has the right power output from your local electronics store. Since we’re dealing with a pro model from QNAP, you shouldn’t expect any failures here, but it’s still something to consider when purchasing your network storage.

Since we’re dealing with a pro model from QNAP, you shouldn’t expect any failures here, but it’s still something to consider when purchasing your network storage.

Quad-Gigabit Ethernet allows you to set up both fast and redundant connections, connect the NAS to multiple subnets at the same time, or use some of them for virtual servers. Two USB 2.0 and three USB 3.0 ports allow you to connect external storage just as peripherals like keyboard and mouse when using it at an HTPC.

You can easily expand the storage capacity when your needs grow with the UX-800P and UX-500P external enclosures. They can provide a lot more capacity with additional 8 and 5 drive bays respectively.

Thanks to the HDMI port and the ability to connect mouse and keyboard to the device as well as QNAPs awesome QvPC technology, this unit doesn’t just work as an NAS. It also allows you to to run any system from Android to Windows via the Virtualization system and use it directly as HTPC with built-in apps such as Kodi, XMBC, and Browsers.

A relative new feature on QNAP’s NAS devices is the myQNAPcloud quick setup that allows you to set up your new device in a much more convenient way. It requires the device to be connected, but other than that you just need to either scan the QR-Code or navigate to the mentioned URL in and enter your code manually. Follow a few steps and enter your details and the system is ready to use.

There’s also a sticker on the top that will help you identify what drive bay is which so you easier know what bay the operating system is referring too. This and the quick-setup are both things that you primarily need when first connecting it, so you can remove the stickers once done – or leave them for later convenience.

Security is always an important factor to consider, after all the device will store all your precious data. QNAP added locks to all four drive bays to prevent sticky fingers from running away with the drives thanks to them being so easily swappable and you find an option for a Kensington Lock on the rear of the unit.

The TS-453 Pro provides numerous security options, such as encrypted access, IP blocking, and more. It has also been validated with military-level FIPS 140-2 AES 256-bit encryption so people won’t be able to access your actual data even though they should get hands on your drives. Antivirus is also part of the deal so you don’t get nasty small buggers nesting in your data.

Intrusion and theft are just one part of security, but QNAP has it all covered. You find plenty of options for local and remote backup of your files, both privately and to the public cloud. You can also synchronize and backup your files across all sorts of platforms, from smartphones to workstations and servers.

The display on the front allows you to easily get an overview of the device’s status, temperatures, fan speeds and important information such as network settings and configurations.

The units weight is about 4 kilo and that will make it stand great and secure on the 4 large feet that are fitted with rubber to absorb additional vibrations from either side.

A pro-model also requires great drive trays, and QNAP doesn’t disappoint here either. The four drive trays are made from solid steel with a plastic front. They are individually lockable for added security and to prevent you from accidentally ejecting them. the latches have no spring inside as sometimes seen on drive trays, but whether that’s a good or bad thing is really down to everyone’s personal taste.

Included in the package is everything you need to get started. The proper power cable for your geographical location, two LAN cables, two keys for the drive bays, and 16 screws to mount either 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drives. There’s also a small ‘getting started’ guide to help you get going with everything and if it should be your first NAS.

The QvPC technology previously mentioned allows you to use your NAS as much more than just a central storage location, you can run virtual systems such as Windows, Linux, Unix, and Android, directly access all aspects of your NAS’ configuration, use it as a HTPC to watch movies, stream music, and surf the internet.

The Hybrid Station makes it all possible and you’ll get familiar interfaces from Firefox and Chrome, over XMBC to YouTube and Spotify. You can also monitor your security cameras in live feeds and connect your IoT devices.

This unit is so much more than NAS, it’s something that has to be experienced first hand to fully grasp the amount of possibilities you have.

Next to all these advanced functions, QNAP’s TS-453 Pro also covers all the basic functions such as FTP, Web, Radius, VPN, and Print servers, but also real-time and offline HD file transcoding and you can control the HybridDesk Station with the optional remote control. Streaming to media players and devices is also supported and so much more. It’s hard to cover every single aspect of such a unit.

It’s hard to cover every single aspect of such a unit, you can keep exploring new apps and find new uses for it for months.

Club3D Multi Streaming Transport Hub and Docking Station Review

Introduction


There is no doubt that playing games and working is filled with a lot more joy and pleasure when you have more than one monitor connected. You need to use ALT+TAB a lot less to view everything, can have source code on one screen and the result on another, or just keep an eye on your instant messages and emails while you’re gaming. It’s all possible and once you got used to it, then you’ll miss it immensely when you don’t have it.

It can however end up costing you even more that you need a graphics card with just the right amount of outputs and connectors to match your monitor and this is where Club 3D comes to your rescue with two devices in the Sense Vision series. The MST-HUB is a multi-stream transport hub that morphs your one DisplayPort into three and the Y-cabled Docking station that takes one mDP and one USB 3.0 port and turns it into two mDP ports, three USB 3.0 ports, and one Gigabit Ethernet port.

The number of supported displays depends on the bandwidth available. The MST hub is using the ST Micro STDP 4320 which supports DisplayPort 1.2a specifications with support for up to 21.6Gbps of bandwidth. How much you have depends on your output device. With this kind of bandwidth at your disposal, you can easily run four full HD monitors at 60Hz and 32-bit colour depth and still have extra bandwidth to spare, and that from a single onboard connector.

The Club 3D MST hub can help with more, for example if you got a 4K monitor of the cheaper kind that only can do 30Hz. You can use the MST hub and resolve this by combining two screen resolutions of 1920×2160 at 60Hz to obtain a native 3840×2160 60Hz resolution by using two DisplayPort cables. This is particular useful of you only have one display port out to begin with and no way to attach two DisplayPort cables to your system, doesn’t help if the monitor has it.

Even if you don’t have a DisplayPort capable monitor the MST hub can help you, but you will need adapters to connect them. The Club3D MSTY Hub is a DP++ device which means that it can actively convert the DisplayPort signal to other types of display interfaces. An active adapter isn’t required, a passive is enough with this hub. Just keep in mind that passive adapters have a resolution limitation of 1920×1200.

AMD created Eyefinity with up to 6 displays, but Club 3d takes it to the next level as you only need a graphics card with two DisplayPort connectors and two of these MST hubs to achieve just that, being able to connect 6 monitors for the ultimate multi-screen setup.

Ultrabooks and notebooks also become more powerful with each generation, but the often only come with one display port. With the MST hub, you can easily connect multiple monitors to those and best of all, you only need to unplug one cable when you take your system with you on the go.

Features

  • Standards compliance/support:displayport v1.2a, displayport v1.1a,VESA DDM
  • Standard,HDCP V2.0,DisplayId,and EDID V1.4
  • Supports main link rates of 5.4 bps(HBR2),2.7 bps(HBR)and 1.62 bps(RBR) from source
  • Supports 1/2/4 lanes of main link for RX side
  • Supports three DP++ output port, or two dual-link DVI ports, or the combination of ports
  • For DP 1.2a source,supports DP1.2a MST multi video/audio steams
  • Supports 1.1 source, supports ViewXpand
  • Supports DP-DP Bypass mode
  • Supports AUX-CH enables SBM and I2C mapping over AUX between the source/sink and device
  • Dedicated I2C slave for main processor to access the device
  • Supported output resolution: up to 2560X1600@60Hz each monitor in DP1.2 MST and up to FHD/1080p in DP1.1 or DP 1.2 SST. With DP resolutions up to FHD (4K x 2K) @60Hz, 24bpp, but limited by DP bandwidth).
  • Input pixel data depth 6/8/10/12 bits and supports output pixel format RGB444
  • Advance WideEye SerDes technology
  • Adaptive Sync technology

Thecus N5810 Pro Zero-Crash 5-Bay High-Performance NAS Review

Introduction


Thecus have created a new NAS that is something just a little bit special, if not a lot of special. It looks pretty normal on the surface, but it comes packed full of great features, plenty of storage abilities, and with connectivity options as they’re rarely seen.

The new Thecus Zero-Crash N5810 Pro isn’t your everyday NAS, it is one that comes with superior performance, unmatched security, and with built-in mini-UPS. The N5810 Pro is a 5-bay unit and this is an NAS form-factor that is increasing in popularity due to the option for an extra hot-spare, or just the extra capacity.

Let us dive right into the hardware specification, because they are worth highlighting. At the core of the unit we find an Intel Celeron J1900 quad-core SoC processor with 2GHz and the N5810 Pro comes equipped with 4GB DDR3 RAM right out the box. You don’t need to worry about having to upgrade your NAS right away with that kind of RAM, it is easily enough to run all the apps and service you want at the same time.

Where other NAS devices come with two and sometimes four LAN ports, Thecus added one extra and equipped this unit with a total of five Gigabit Ethernet ports. There is full support for all types of Link Aggregation and Fail-over, leaving the setup completely up to you. Maximum performance, redundancy, or you could even use it as an access point if you wanted to.

It has three USB 3.0 ports where one of them is located on the front for quick and easy backups. The last two are on the rear side with the rest of the connections such as two USB 2.0 ports, one HDMI port, and a Line-Out 3.5mm audio jack.

Thecus equipped the N5810 Pro with an internal 130W power supply. I really like the use of internal power supplies over the external power bricks, although the bricks are easier to replace if they should fail. Thecus also thought about that and made the PSU removable from the rear of the unit. It isn’t as easy as getting a new universal AC/DC adapter, but it’s close.

Another really awesome feature in this high-end NAS is the built-in mini-UPS with a removable battery. Again you save yourself having to get another piece of hardware and find room to place it near the NAS. You also save yourself the connecting and setting it up as everything is built-in. If the NAS should lose power, it will safely shut down without loss or corruption of your data. You can define the settings whether it should stay off or resume where it left off once the power is back.

The N5810 Pro NAS is placed on four large rubber feet that prevent any vibration from the mechanical hard drives to move onto whatever piece of furniture the NAS is placed on. They lift the unit far enough off the ground that it also has some extra air vents on the bottom that help to draw in more fresh and cold air for the system. The stickers with serial and product numbers are hidden away on the bottom if you should need those.

Security is an ever-growing issue and Thecus has this side of things handled with both their choice hardware, software and the physical build. Thecus has partnered with McAfee and bundled their Antivirus with the unit to keep the NAS save from itself. Those who prefer the private connections don’t need to worry either as the NAS fully supports VPN connections with the built-in server module.

Keeping the files safe means more than just to protect them from viruses and malware, and Thecus also has all the other sides of the story covered. The N5810 Pro supports scheduled Rsync backups and also comes bundled with Acronis True Image software for advanced one-click protection. Snapshot backup is equally supported with BTRFS support for subvolumes and easy rollback or restoration.

Those who wish to store their backup in the cloud are covered with support for DropBox, Amazon S3, and ElephantDrive. If that still isn’t enough, Thecus also supports data burn directly to CD, DVD, and Blu-ray disks with Data Burn. You can also choose to just ‘burn’ ISO files as another way of backing up your files. You can even clone entire disks with the NAS.

The five drive caddies can all be locked individually and Thecus included a total of four keys with this unit. Enough for even the most clumsy people that forget or lose them. The caddie’s base is built from steel and covered with a plastic encasing that holds the locking system and two LEDs. Thecus places padding inside the caddies to prevent damage to your drives and possible short-outs from the PCB touching the caddy. They support both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives, so you’re covered no matter what drive you want to use, whether it’s small or big hard disks or even solid state drivers.

Thecus also built in a LCM display with four buttons on the front: enter, escape, up, and down. This not only allows you to view the current configuration, but also change settings. Not to worry, you’ll have to enter a password via the buttons in order to access that part.

Mobile connectivity is also supported with the T-OnTheGo and T-Dashboard apps. When I read those names I always think of Telecom first, but the T stands for Thecus in this case. You can connect from your iOS or Android device for up and downloading files, streaming media, or just to keep an eye on the device itself.

You can even turn the N5810 Pro into a direct multimedia hub for your living toom with the built-in HDMI. Connect it directly to your TV for device management, web browsing with Flash support, and also the most important function, HD video playback. No need to watch your movies on the PC monitor or have an extra HTPC running, just use your NAS. It also features a line-out connection to get the sound out to other devices if your monitor doesn’t have built-in speakers.

Angelbird SSDwrk Now Available as 1TB Version

Angelbird has announced that their great looking SSD wrk and SSD wrk for Mac drives now are available as 1TB versions (SSDWRKM1TB). A couple of months ago when we tested the SSD wrk, we saw that there was plenty of physical room inside the robust aluminium chassis. Taking that and coupling it with the advanced in NAND flash technology and we get this 1TB beauty.

“We are happy to announce the extension of the successful SSD wrk-series with the two new 1 terabyte versions. This series now covers the entire consumer SSD spectrum, offering perfectly adapted models for every requirement,” said Roman Rabitsch, CEO of Angelbird.

The Angelbird SSD wrk is built with the SATA 3.1 interface and has the SMI2246EN controller and custom packed MLC NAND inside. It can reach maximum read and write speeds of  564 and 456 MB/s and the new 1TB version can reach 72K IOPS. The drive features over-voltage, overload, EMS and ESD protections. Mac users might love this drive even more, as it is one of the very few third party drives to support TRIM out of the box without need for drivers or tools, including OS X Yosemite.

The SSDwrk comes with a five-year warranty and an MSRP of €483.25 in Europe and $599.00 in the States, excluding VAT. As a bonus, you can take a tour behind the scenes at Angelbird’s facilities in Austria and get a glimpse into SSD manufacturing.

Thanks to Angelbird for providing us with this Information

Images and video courtesy of Angelbird

Angelbird SSD2go Pocket USB 3.0 External Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


I recently had the pleasure to review the Angelbirds SSD wrk internal drive that did very well, so I was pretty excited when I got told about the new SSD2go Pocket. An external, On-The-Go Solid State Drive with the same power as an internal one while maintaining a tiny form factor and of course portability. With the native UASP support and connecting through the USB3 interface, it allows this drive to take full advantage of the 5GB/s bandwidth and should see it take off like a rocket in comparison to other external flash-based drives. The SSD2go pocket is available in three sizes; 128 GB, 256 GB and 512 GB, and comes bundled with software and music that further increases the overall value.

The SSD2go pocket is the first and only external USB drive to support both TRIM and SMART for Mac right out of the box. This is an important factor considering how popular the Angelbird drives are among musicians and other artists who have their preferred work area on Macs.

This drive doesn’t just promise us great performance and features, it is a little piece of art at the same time. The slightly curved design in combination with the magnificent finish on the coating turns this external drive into a stylish accessory rather than just a tech-gizmo. The rounded corners and shape in combination with the tiny pocket size of just 89×69.9×10.4mm allow this drive to slide right into your pocket, even when you’re wearing tight jeans.

It’s really hard to describe the feeling you’ll have when you unpack the SSD2go pocket and hold it in your hands for the first time. It has an almost magical attraction, you can’t stop looking at it, inspecting every millimetre to see if you can find the tiniest error in the finish. But you won’t, it is like it was made with magic. Those who have had the luck to hold one the SSD2go models in their own hands will know what I’m talking about.

The external finish isn’t just beautiful to feel and look at, the SSD2go Pocket is also an incredible durable drive. It is enclosed in a CNC machined aluminium housing that has been glass pearl blasted and hard anodized. Angelbird also used the far more robust type A USB connector on the drive instead of the more common used Type B-micro connector and retracted it further into the drive to protect it. The overall result is an almost indestructible drive.

While words may be just that to you, it’s worth checking out the video below. An uncut extreme-test of the SSD2go Pocket performed outside the Angelbird headquarters by Roman Rabitsch, the CEO of Angelbird. I would still like to challenge Angelbird to the tank test we’ve seen on performed on the G710+ keyboard.

When we couple all of the above with the great quality control Angelbird is running, we know we don’t have much to worry about. Each component is carefully inspected and pre-tested before assembly to ensure the production fulfils the highest standards. They’re also ISO certified to fulfil the fine production standards of medical technology. The drives pass through further quality controls such as automated optical inspection, in-circuit tests, bin-in inside a climate chamber, and of course a function test. The function tests will be repeated before the products are sent out to the customer to make sure that each and every device works.

Performance wise this 512 GB model promises us some impressive write speeds up to 390 MB/s and read speeds up to 450 MB/s. The IOPS are rated to 38.800 which is really good for an external drive and it has an access time of 0.9 ms. The power draw is only 0.8 watts in idle and 3.41 maximum, so this drive won’t suck your laptops battery dry nor need any external power supply. Backed by a 5-year limited warranty, the SSD2go Pocket has a mean time before failure (MTBF) rating of over 2 million hours and the total bytes written (TBF) are rated to 1048TB of data.

A further bonus is added to this drive by the pre-loaded content. You’ll get a full version of Parallels 10 (Mac) and Bitwig Studio 1.0 (Win, Mac, Linux) as well as the System Reflection Backup tool. It also includes PureMix Audio Production video tutorials as well as music provided by the artist themselves free for remixing. Artists featured at the time of release are Marshall Jefferson, CeCe Rogers and Trash, but the library will be expanded with new artists and content.

If you’d like to have a truly personal drive, you can add a personal touch to your Angelbird SSD2go pocket with a customized engraving. Of course, you will need to order the drive at Angelbirds’ own webshop for this as the retailers can’t predict your future engraving wishes.

Angelbird Introduces SSD wrk for Mac

Angelbird is a highly popular brand among artists and creators of all kings of art. It is also still a fact that many of those artists use Mac systems for their ease-of-use and the functionality they provide for music and image creations. So it’s no surprise that Angelbird is working hard on products to give those people the best experience they can get. As such they’ve just released the new SSD wrk for Mac. This is the first and only third-party drive that offers TRIM support for Mac out of the box, without the need of extra tools and utilities.

The SSD wrk for Mac is built upon the same quality components as the regular model that did very well in our review. It’s packed with custom NAND from Micron and powered by the SMI 2246EN controller. It connects via the SATA 3.1 interface and is fully backwards compatible to older Mac models. It can perform 72K IOPS and achieve speeds of up to 563 MB/s when reading and 450 MB/s when writing. The average access times are below 0.1 milliseconds.

The quality work is backed by a 5-year warranty and the drive has a MTBF of at least 2 million hours. Please note how Angelbird use the words “at least” instead of the term “up to” that we usually see here. Angelbird knows that they’ve built a quality product here. The durability is further improved by the integrated EDC and ECC error correction capabilities. Besides being a fast drive it’s also a power saving drive. The 128GB model only requires 0.25 watts in idle mode and 1.97 watts under load. The largest 512 GB model uses a maximum of 2.98 watts under full load, a perfect drive for a Mac Book. On top of the drive, customers also get access to the Personal Support Portal where they can register their product and view warranty periods as well as download free and full versions of software. A place worth checking out for any one who owns an Angelbird product.

The SSD wrk for Mac can be purchased in capacities of 128 GB (99.99 USD / 59,99 GBP), 256 GB (159.99 USD / 99,99 GBP) and 512 GB (299.99 USD / 191,99 GBP). All prices ex. VAT.

Thank you Angelbird for providing us with these information

Images courtesy of Angelbird

Angelbird SSD2go Pocket USB3 Solid State Drive Released

Angelbird have released their brand new SSD2go Pocket today; a durable USB3 powered Solid State Drive for the person on the go. The newest member of the Angelbird family delivers everything you would expect from a premium brand, including first-class components, superb craftsmanship and breathtaking read/write-speeds.

The SSD2go Pocket is a small drive, but only in terms of physical size; measuring 89.0 x 69.9 x 10.4 mm and weighing just 90 grams. The case is made of CNC-machined aluminium, with a stylish pearl blasted and hard-anodised finish. At the time of launch there are four colour options for the SSD2go pocket: Silver, Blue, Red and Black. The power consumption is equally low with just 0.8W at idle and 2.4W under full load, making sure the drive doesn’t drain your battery unnecessary.

With it being an extremely durable 

and portable drive, you’d want it to work under extreme condtions as well, and it does. It works flawlessly from -20°C to 70°C and has a guaranteed data integrity from -40°C to 85°C. Angelbird have also put some extra thought into the connection type, and used an extremely robust type-A USB 3.0 port on the drive itself. Not only is it more durable than the micro versions, it also allows them to move the port further into the drive.

The SSD2go pocket is rated with transfer speeds of 450 MB/s read and 390 MB/s write. Those transfer speeds are possible through the native implementation of UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol), which makes optimal use of the Silicon Motion 2246EN-controller and custom packed original micron NAND (16nm/L95B).

Angelbird is so sure of the quality they deliver here, that they offer a 5-year warranty on the drive, and rate it to a MTBF of over 2 million hours.

 It’s not just robust and fast, it’s also user-friendly and will work straight from the box with computers, TV sets and a huge range of multimedia devices in your car and home. Even USB On-The-Go (OTG) is supported, so you could attach it directly to your smartphone or tablet.
 The SSD2go pocket has surge and overload protection built in (ESD, EMS, ECC), as well as TRIM and SMART. It’s actually the worlds first USB drive to support TRIM and SMART on Mac devices.

Each SSD2go pocket has a unique serial number which can be used to register the device online with Angelbird’s PSP (Personal Support Portal), giving you access to useful information. This one-stop-shop will let you know how much time remains on your warranty etc., as well as giving you access to exclusive software downloads. It is worth noting that the software is already loaded onto the drive when you buy it. Full versions of Parallels 10 (limited to 6 months), Bitwig Studio 1.0 (limited to 3 months), System Reflection back-up tool (unlimited) and PureMix instructional videos are all available at your disposal. In addition, renowned musicians like Marshall Jefferson, CeCe Rogers and Trash Junk offer exclusive music and samples for remix purposes too.

The SSD2go pocket is currently available in capacities of 128, 256 and 512 GB. Customers who choose to order directly from Angelbird’s own website, can now order special personalized units, with a bespoke two-line engraved message. Considering what you get here, the drive is more then reasonable priced at £119.99 for 128GB, £159,99 for 256GB and £269,99 for the 512GB model.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”500″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVjvGhhyA88[/youtube]

If you’d like to convince yourself just how durable this drive is, then I’ll encourage you to watch the video above. Angelbird’s CEO, Roman Rabitsch, gives the drive an extreme test in an uncut video. The test starts around 2:50, if the entire video is to long for you. We’ll also have a review of the drive ready for you soon.

Thank you Angelbird for providing us with this information

Images and video courtesy of Angelbird

Angelbird SSD wrk 256GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


I was pretty excited when I got this Solid State Drive (SSD) in the mail, since it is the first chance I’m getting to get hands-on with one of Angelbirds drives.

Being a new player, Angelbird needs their products to stand out from the rest. This doesn’t seem to be a difficult thing for the designers of Angelbird, as all their products have a sleek simplistic, but beautiful design. Among the current products are mobile and normal Solid State Drives as well as a creatively designed PCI-Express host- and raid-board.

Angelbird Technologies GmbH is a relative new player in the market, “a hi-tech company based in Vorarlberg, which although the smallest province of Austria, has an international reputation as a region of pioneering and innovation. The company’s headquarters is in the town of Lustenau surrounded by mountains and close to the border of Switzerland and Germany. The team behind Angelbird is young, experienced and passionate, with a love for quality and attention to detail. Angelbird products are developed with the environment in mind.” That is how the company is described by Roman Rabitsch, CEO.

The Angelbird SSD wrk is based upon the Silicon Motion 2246EN controller and uses 20nm Micron custom packed NAND chips. The flash chips are synchronous MLC that should give us a steady and good performance in our tests. The interface is SATA3 6GB/s and backwards compatible to 3Gb/s and 1.5GB/s SATA interfaces; it is also SATA 3.1 compliant.

The drive is rated for more then 2 million hours MTBF and comes with a 3 year limited warranty. Power consumption is barely noticeable with just 0.25W in idle and 1.97W maximum draw. It also promises great data retention with 10 years at 25°C and reliability with build-in EDC and ECC function.

Other features offered by the drive are advanced dynamic global wear-leveling and bad block management algorithm as well as increased data reliability through reduced coupling effects with data shaping. It also features overload protection and of course S.M.A.R.T.

Being a 2½ inch slim drive, it measures 7mm in height, 100.2mm in length and 69.8 in width, ready to slide into your laptop or notebook. The rated specifications are 563MB/s sustained read speed and 450MB/s write speed with up to 72k IOPS and an access time of 0.1ms. It’s time to get this disk on the test bench and see if it lives up to those specifications.